29 June 2015

StarDust: Ground AAR - Debut of the Robot Army!

Fellow gamer Mark came over on Sunday afternoon to check out SD:G. It's been a few months since I've played it and have been eager to give the robot army a play test so this would be a good opportunity to dust off the home-brew and throw dice.

I decorated the table and put two forces together. Mark would be using the well-tested Red Guard humans.

We split the table diagonally and we each had to deploy 12" back from the center line.

The forces after deployment. Most of my stuff was on the right, concealed behind the large hill. With unlimited range on most weapons, safe spots are hard to come by. Mark was deployed a bit more spread out and had a few infantry squads between the lake and small hill in the far left corner.

Right out of the gates, the Catapult rocket tanks smash a squad of SuperBots. Of all the rotten luck! I no longer have a left flank.

In an effort to redress the situation, my BigBots climb the hill and fire their railguns and the artillery tanks. One shot misses, the other merely rattles the crew. Oh come on!

The Red Guard's grav tanks scoot around the hill and fire their plasma guns at one of my BigBots. The shots are ineffective.

Much of my robotic horde ambles around the hill.

A rocket streaks toward one of the grav tanks but doesn't cause any real damage.

The grav tanks again try to find a flank on the giant metal beasts. Pin markers are starting to pile up on one of them!

The swift-moving HoverBots crest the hill and rake some meatbags with their rapid-fire weapons.

The return fire wipes out the HoverBots. God grief the biologicals are on fire today!

The BigBots continue to embarrass themselves and have to be constantly babysat by the RepairBot.

The HeavyHoverBots make it around the hill! Bwahahaha!

The Red Guard's Python smashes into one of the BigBots but fails to find a chink in its armor.

A broader view - my flanking maneuver is going well. My BigBots in the center (upper left of the pic) leave the Python and take up positions on the shore to fire at the grav tanks.

The RepairBot throws up a smoke screen in front of some WarBots on the hill.

The stupid Python just won't leave my big guys alone!

The humans have immobilized one of the HeavyHoverBots but the other three continue their reign of terror. The robotic infantry round the hill and prepare to eliminate the sniper and other humans below.

The Horseman grav tanks finally get their act together and destroy one of the BigBots. 

My second squad of SuperBots vaporize the sniper (who was tragically under-utilized).

The WarBots shoot up the last of the infantry stands that had turned the HeavyHover into a turret.

The 'Bots with the Heavy Blaster on the hill take out the God-forsaken turret. That turret had actually been giving me hell all game. I was quite happy to see it go away.

The HeavyHoverBots surround the rear-guard infantry and start blasting away.

My last BigBot embarrasses itself again, not harming a Horseman.

A rocket finally connects and immobilizes the Python! Miracle of miracles!

The HeavyHovers get around the flanks of the Catapults and immobilize one - USELESS! The infantry at the front of the hill completely rallied with the help of the platoon leader.

The RepairBot puts on its big-boy pants and engages a Horseman in close assault, but fails to damage the grav tank.

Meanwhile a HeavyHoverBot is taken down by assaulting Red Guard infantry!

The RepairBot, still feeling good about itself, smashes into the immobilized Python, but again has problems getting through the enemy's armor.

In the center of the battlefield, my last BigBot is taken down in close assault! Tragedy!

The battle was over. Very over. I had a RepairBot and one squad of WarBots remaining (blue circles) while the Red Guard still had a fully functional rocket tank, a grav tank and plenty of infantry.

That was a really fun game. I've got to say, I'm still thrilled with StarDust: Ground. I know I'm biased, but the game is solid and "just works." Mark was very positive too - he really seemed to like it as well. We both had absolutely MISERABLE rolls on the vehicle damage chart - only two "destroyed" results all game - the other vehicles that were destroyed were due to accrued pin markers, not explosions. I nearly choked on my gum when Mark wiped out my SuperBots right off the bat with the rocket barrage - Veteran infantry just does not die that quickly in SD:G!

The Robot army is awesome. It's got a much different feel to it compared to the other two armies that have been used primarily during playtesting - the Red Guard and the Dogs. The infantry is a slow-moving "zombie horde," but they've also got the very fast hover units that were a heck of a lot of fun to run up the flank and through the backfield. I'm very happy with their force composition and how they work.

I did find a couple of minor issues - the Repair bots need a rule edit and I'm going to make a minor change to vehicle Close Combat. I also need to make the HeavyHoverBots a bit weaker - they held up to a withering hail of fire. We weakened them on the fly, but I need to commit the changes to the rules. Beyond that, there were no real issues.

I'll have these rules "finished" one of these days and available for you to use - I just want to get in a few more playtests, especially with the Robots, before I put any sort of "complete" indicator on 'em.

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